January 20, 1926

LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Is not the hon. gentleman aware that the Labour party expressed the view distinctly that the tariff so far as it was concerned wa3 not the issue of the election?

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I shall try to answer that question in a moment or two. Surely it must be very well known indeed that whether or not it is the intention of the Conservative party in Canada to increase the tariff, the Liberal and Progressive parties have no such desire. And this is not the only evidence of similarity between the views of these two parties. If I am not incorrectly informed, the Progressive and Labour members in this House during the last session of parliament consistently supported the Liberal government.

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Has the hon. gentleman read Hansard?

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

Probably I have not read the particular issues of Hansard which the hon. member has in mind and it is possible that I may have been misinformed on this point. If so I humbly beg the hon. member's pardon. Six of the constituencies in Manitoba, as I say, were contested in a straight fight between Progressives and Conservatives and in these six Progressives were elected with but one exception: in the constituency of Portage la Prairie the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) was returned. And not only is this the case; in four of the constituencies which were contested by all three parties the Progressive and Liberal candidates were undoubtedly instrumental in defeating each other, much to the satisfaction and doubtless to the amusement of the Conservatives. This brings me directly to the subject of the transferable vote, and I want to state forthwith that I am personally in favour of the transferable vote.

I venture to state furthermore that if such a system of voting had been in effect in the last election the electorate of Manitoba would have had a better and freer mode of expressing their wishes and that at the present time there would be in consequence more Progressive and Labour members and fewer Conservatives in this House.

Let me now refer briefly to the tariff. It has been said in this House that the tariff

2S3

The Address-Mr. Howden

has very little effect on the farmer inasmuch as he buys a binder only once in ten years and a mower and other agricultural implements in corresponding intervals. But let us remember that agricultural implements are not the only things that are protected by the tariff; the farmer requires clothing, boots and shoes and what not, and to a greater degree than any of these does he need repairs for his machinery from year to year. I have little hesitation in saying that the average western farmer pays out a great deal of money every summer in repair parts for machinery, and since these are all covered by a duty, or most of them, the incidence of the tariff undoubtedly has some effect upon his purchases.

There is another consideration, however, which affects the farmer; and in this regard I assert with confidence that the source of all wealth in this or any other country is the soil. If I may be permitted to suggest a rather far-fetched hypothesis it would be this. Suppose that over night or in the course of a few days our manufacturers from end to end of the Dominion closed their doors, I wonder what the effect of their action would be on the country. Would we have to shut down? Would we have to move out? I am willing to admit that the country would receive a very rude jolt, and that commerce generally would be badly embarrassed for a time, but eventually conditions would readjust themselves. The farmer would probably continue producing crops every year and selling them in the world's markets, within a certain period of time the population directly affected by the action of the manufacturers would either settle on the land or find other occupation, the country would recover from the shock, and in the long run I imagine we would not be so very much worse off. Now, let us put the shoe on the other foot, and suppose that in the course of a season, or a few short weeks, or indeed over night, if you like, the primary producers in this country should suspend operations, that our farmers ceased raising agricultural products, what would happen to the manufacturers, how long could they hope to continue functioning? Not only so, Sir, but if our agriculturists suddenly ceased their activities from one end of the country to the other, what would happen to our cities and towns? Where would the city of Winnipeg be, or the city of Brandon, or the city of Calgary if our primary producers in the prairie provinces ceased to function? I think we would find that in a few years, five at the longest, those cities would be but a sad semblance of their present greatness.

Now, I think it is generally admitted that our urban population is greater than our rural, it may be in the ratio of one to two, or of one to one and a half, I cannot say, but at all events accepting the correctness of the statement that the source of all wealth is the soil, we have our rural population producing the wealth that supports those who live in the urban centres. Just how does that react for instance, on the farmer? The purpose of a tariff will be admitted to be twofold: to protect, on the one hand, the producer- pre-eminently the manufacturer; and on the other hand, to supplement the national revenue. It is evident that it .cannot serve both purposes at the same time in the same instance. If the consumer in this country prefers to buy a foreign product, the national revenue benefits directly by the transaction. If, on the other hand-and this I believe is the general rale-the consumer is offered the domestic product at a lower rate than that at which he can import the corresponding foreign product, usually he will buy the home made article, and then of course whatever margin of profit there may be on the transaction goes to the manufacturer. That there can be no doubt about this is demonstrated by the fact that Henry Ford and other United States automobile manufacturers have erected factories on this side of the line, and now instead of the differences in car prices current in the two countries accruing to our national revenue it goes directly into the pockets of our manufacturers.

Undoubtedly there are some advantages in having manufacturers locate here, for they require men to run their plants, and of course these men would to some extent help bear the burden of taxation. This raises a serious question which confronts us in the west; I do not know how it applies here. The average labourer with a family of three or four children pays probably from 1100 to $150 a year in taxation. In the west it costs every year about $60 to educate a child. Therefore if the parent of three or four children pays taxes to the extent of only $100 or $150, the municipality is going to be pretty far behind with respect to that taxation.

Now, I would point out that if the farmer, the original producer, is primarily the producer of all wealth, then all taxation must in the end bear on him and come out of his pocket. The farmer would not mind this if he was making money in a large way, but unfortunately this is not the case. In our country a farmer in the most successful years makes only a reasonable degree of profit; in ordinary years if he breaks even he is doing pretty

The Address-Mr. Howden

well; but if he gets only half a crop or has a total crop failure, he gets behind that much further. After all his anxiety and weariness of toil-he works from morning till night-he gains as a rule but a bare living, while we in the cities are able to do very much better on the proceeds of his toil. For this reason I am of the opinion that the primary producer of this country, the farmer, should be dealt with as leniently as possible so far as taxation is concerned.

As to protecting him from foreign competition in farm products, and what not, I would point out that we are not very able to effect this so far as wheat is concerned, for the simple reason that we produce about seven times more wheat than we need, and since the price of commodities is determined by the surplus exportation, we are not very likely to require a duty on wheat to protect our grain growers. The same applies to butter and, to a large extent, to eggs, meats and live stock.

Now, I presume the right hon. leader of the opposition when he moved his amendment calling for more protection for the products of the soil, the primary products, had in mind fresh fruits and early vegetables. I am not familiar with conditions in the east, but throughout western Canada our farmers do not- raise any early vegetables, neither do they cultivate fruits. In the province of British Columbia, undoubtedly vegetables are largely produced along with fruit, but the first fruits and early vegetables which we get in western Canada are considerably ahead of anything that can be grown on this side of the line. If an import tax were added to the price which we already pay for these commodities the price resulting would be prohibitive. That price is well-nigh prohibitive as it is, and if anything were added to it we would not be able to have these products at all. By the time the British Columbia produce is on the market these other articles are withdrawn and there is no serious competition with the fruits and early vegetables produced in British Columbia.

With regard to coal and iron, I am sorry to say I know very little about them. But I do say that if the coal and iron industries of the Maritime provinces and British Columbia are suffering for want of protection, then give them protection. There is no question about it that these provinces-and particularly the older provinces-should not be disregarded by the rest of the Dominion if their industries require protection. If it is a tariff they require let the remedy be along those lines. The idea occurred to me, however, that possibly the difficulty lay in the transportation cost, and that the reason they were not able to compete fairly with foreign material was because of the excessive charges due to a long rail haul. I have wondered why coal could not

be mined in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island just as cheaply as it can be mined in Pennsylvania. I am absolutely ignorant on the subject, but it occurs to me that the cost of mining in Canada should not be greatly in excess of that in the United States. If by any chance the comparative costs should be about the same, then the coal mined in Nova Scotia should be able to compete in the general market with American coal.

This brings us to the railroad question which is adversely affecting these provinces at the present time, and I would like to state my position in that matter quite freely. If the Maritime provinces can be benefited by a reduced rate over the Intercolonial railway and if we can find a winter port for exporting our grain, by all means give it to them. I was greatly interested in and amused by the observations of the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins) yesterday. I was quite impressed by his remarks about soil robbing, and since I spent some four season's riding on the circle wagon of the Bar-U ranch I am not entirely ignorant of those conditions. What he stated in this regard is absolutely correct. The farmers-grangers, as we used to call them.-in those days went into southern Alberta, the finest cattle ranching country in the world, perhaps, and destroyed the soil, tore it up and left it nothing better than a barren waste, fit neither for cattle nor agriculture. I have seen a great many of his sowless and cowless farms also, and I am inclined to believe that a large number of the failures on our western plains have been due to the fact that the farmer has had to go to town to buy his bacon, his eggs, his milk and everything he required. I believe if the policy adopted by our forefathers in the east had been followed by farmers in the west, namely, that of going slowly at first and keeping what they needed at home, we would be able to make a better report to-day. I also agree with what the hon. member stated about tractors. A Yankee farmer said to me not long ago that the quickest and easiest way for a man to go broke was for him to try and cultivate with a tractor. It is a simple problem in dynamics, because where the tractor wheels spin in the soft soil, the hooves of a horse take a firm, hold. But there are one or two points in which I cannot entirely agree with what the hon. member said. He does not seem to favour a Chicago market for cattle, and I am not just sure as to his reason.

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

May I correct my hon.

friend? That is not an accurate statement; that is not what I said. I do not agree to the shipping of immature steers out of

The Address-Mr. Howden

western Canada to the Chicago market. For the bigger, matured cattle give us any market, Chicago or any other.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I was just going to refer

to that very point. The remarks of my hon. friend in that connection appear on page 241 of Hansard and read as follows:

Western Canada does not want to ship young, light, immature steers into the United States, for feeders there to make a profit on them. We want to bring the animal up to about 1,200 pounds, and then have an avenue open to a profitable market, and the British market is the best market of all.

The hon. member may not want to ship those immature, ungrown animals to the Chicago market. He himself, I believe, is something of a feeder. His business is in feeding and finishing cattle and I believe it would be to his interests to buy these cattle as cheaply as he can. There is a ready market for such cattle on the Chicago stock exchange, and I dare say that, because they are prohibited from those stock yards, the Canadian feeder is able to buy ungrown animals for nearly his own price.

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

May I correct the hon.

gentleman? The stock yards are in his constituency, and he should know that is not the case. There is a competitive market in eastern Canada to which buyers come from all sources, and it would not be possible to buy at my own price when there is such a market.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

Well, Mr. Speaker, from

the little experience I have had in the cattle trade, it seems to make very little difference whether you buy the animal direct from the farmer or whether you buy it in the stockyards. You do not pay any more for it than you have to, and as the market is flooded with these immature young animals-I live beside the stock yards and I know what I am talking about-they bring only a very low price on the Winnipeg stock yards.

There is another point on which I wish to take issue with the hon. member for Marquette, and that is with regard to the pledge which was made at the Imperial conference in 1917 for the removal of the embargo on Canadian cattle. If the pledge was made in 1917, I wonder why it took five years to have the embargo on our cattle removed.

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CON

Henry Alfred Mullins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MULLINS:

For your information-

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LIB
LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

Mr. Speaker, I have sat

attentively in my seat and listened with courteous attention to all the members who have addressed the House, and I would bespeak equal courtesy for myself.

I would like to refer for a moment to the Canadian National railway. I entirely agree with the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke) in his remarks in connection with that road. We all know the road is over-capitalized and that it can never make a showing under its present capitalization. There is only one thing for the government to do, if it wants to be fair to the Canadian National railway, and that is to write off the excessive capitalization and thereby give the road a chance to live and to make some returns.

I would like to say also that we are going to have the Hudson Bay railway, and I quite agree with the hon. member for Brandon in what he says with regard to its completion. Away back in the early eighties a land subsidy was granted by the federal government of that day. Those lands have to a large extent been sold, and a great deal of money has been collected from that source. The road is now all but completed, and some $6,000,000 has been spent on a harbour at the bay. Most favourable reports have been received with regard to the feasibility of the outlet, and now all that is required, as it were, is the last nail. We in western Canada are going to have the Hudson Bay railway. If this parliament does not give it to us, if it is not completed by this parliament, we are going to have it anyway. We are not going to let the project remain in its present condition after so much money has been spent upon it. I do not wish to delay the House too long, but I should like to give very briefly the history of the road in support of my claim that we deserve its completion.

In 1877-and this information will all be found in the pamphlet on the Hudson Bay railway, of which I presume every member has a copy-western Canada got its first recognition as a great wheat-producing country through a carload of wheat that was shipped in that year to Glasgow. That wheat had to find its way along the Red river down to the American railroads, and it reached the Old Country by that route. But that shipment gave the people living along the Red river the idea that they were able to produce the best wheat in the world, because it was the best that had been produced, and they saw the necessity of an easy outlet to the markets of the world. In 1880 and 1881 bills were introduced into the House of Commons for the construction of the Hudson Bay railway. In .1883-I say this for the benefit of the Progressive party, one of whose members in speaking the other day said he believed that their experience with the road dated back some twenty-five years-in 1883 a delegation of farmers' unions meeting in the city, of Winnipeg drew up and presented to the federal government a declaration of rights, and the last but not the least item of that declaration urged

The Address

Mr. Howden

the immediate construction of the Hudson Bay railway. In 1884 Sir John A. Macdonald introduced into this House this resolution:

That it is expedient to authorize the Governor in Council to make a free grant of not more than 6,400 acres per mile in Manitoba and 12,800 acres per mile in the Northwest Territories to aid in the construction of a railway from Manitoba to Hudson bay.

And he added:

It is clear that the legislature and the government have made up their minds to have this road.

In 1887 or thereabouts the project received a quietus for the time being on account of the completion of the Canadian Pacific railway, and the tapping of Manitoba by the Northern Pacific. But about the year 1905. when Mackenzie and Mann were extending their roads through the west and building out to Dauphin and subsequently to Prince Albert, arrangements were made with the federal government for the building of the Hudson Bay railway. The subsequent history I need not repeat. We all know that Sir Wilfrid Laurier had succeeded only in building a bridge when there was a change of government, and under Sir Robert Borden the road was projected up to Port Nelson. I may say for the benefit of those who do not know-and there can scarcely be very many-that the grading has been done over the entire distance and steel has been laid for the entire distance with the exception of some ninety miles. I believe much of the steel and ties and other necessary material are on hand to complete the road. It has been estimated that from three to five million dollars will be required for its completion. May I transgress very briefly upon the patience of the House to quote from a pamphlet which expresses the feeling of western Canada very much better than I could hope to do:

Lord Selkirk's recognition of the potential advantages of Hudson bay over eastern ports can be properly classed as discovery, and in utilizing this route for the transportation of the first settlers into western Canada, he established beyond any possible doubt its importance and practicability.

For trade between the Maritime provinces and western Canada, and as an international highway permitting the free flow of traffic from Europe to the Orient, or from the northern states to Europe, the Hudson Bay route stands pre-eminent.

I shall not tire the House by quoting further. I believe hon. members have this little pamphlet before them, and 1 recommend it to their serious consideration.

With regard to rural credits, that is a matter that requires very careful consideration. The history of farm loans in western Canada does not inspire much faith in the successful extension of a rural credits system. There is no doubt that there are instances where a little

bit of money would be the saving of a western farmer, and some provision ought to be made whereby these individual farmers could obtain relief. But it is always easier to borrow money than to pay it back. The whole matter requires to be considered with a very great deal of care and any system of the kind which may >be devised should be hedged around with safeguards that will prevent its abuse.

I shall not detain the House any longer except to say this: I am a western Canadian

and, as all western Canadians do, I feel that we have in Canada a great nation. We have abundant natural resources in our mines and in our forests; we have vast plains and imposing mountains, and we have men and women of the right type to make of this Dominion a great nation. Therefore it is up to us from all parts of this country to work together in unity and sincerity in an effort to convert Canada into the finest nation on the face of the globe.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY (Argenteuil):

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have had the honour of addressing the House for a good many years-I think twelve-although I was a member of it until 1917. But for eight years as the representative of Canada, I lived in London, at the very heart of the empire, and while there my wife and I received much courtesy and made a great many friends whom we can never forget. We are happy, however, to be back in Canada once more and among our own people.

If you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, the first thing I desire to do is to congratulate Your Honour on your re-election as presiding officer of this House. The position is one for which you are eminently fitted by reason of your personal dignity, your manifest fairness, and your complete command of both languages. If I may be allowed to say so, it is an honour not only to yourself but to every member of the House to have you presiding over us as Speaker.

I welcome this opportunity of joining with my fellow members in lamenting the loss of the late Queen Mother, Queen Alexandra. Her Majesty was always willing and ready to devote her time and her energy to the relief of suffering and the furtherance of any plan for helping the people of her adopted country. For a great many years there has been in London a day in June known as Rose Day, when collections have been taken up on the streets and personal subscriptions made for the purpose of helping the hospitals of that great city. The organization responsible for this movement was proud to have the Queen Mother as its head and patroness,

The Address-Sir George Perley

and on that day each year Her Majesty was in the 'habit of driving in state through the streets of London for the purpose of giving her countenance and support to the scheme. On those occasions great masses of people assembled along the way and welcomed and cheered her. Then, during the war, Queen Alexandra was anxious and willing to assist in every good work for the benefit and comfort of our soldiers. At the opening of one of the huts for soldiers on the Strand Queen Alexandra herself was there and poured out the tea for the soldiers. Two or three of us had the honour of passing the tea along to the men, all of whom naturally wanted to have a cup poured by the Queen's own hand. I think I am safe in saying that on the day the Danish princess arrived in London, a young and charming girl, to be the bride of Edward, then Prince of Wales, the hearts of the people of England went out to her; and from that day to the termination of her long and useful life she retained the complete and sincere affection and respect of the English people.

I am happy to observe that a sentence has been incorporated in the Speech from the Throne commenting upon the selection of Hon. Senator Dandurand as president of the sixth assembly of the League of Nations, and I quite concur in the words of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) who said that this was no mean honour. As a matter of fact it was a great honour. No man could be president of the assembly of the League of Nations who is not fully conversant with both the French and the English languages, the two official languages of the league, and who is not recognized for his urbanity and courtesy, because at the meetings of the league delegates come together from all parts of the world and it is necessary that the duties of presiding officer should be carried out with grace and courtesy. I am sure that Senator .Dandurand filled the bill perfectly. I think it was a great honour to Canada as well as to himself personally that he should 4 p.m. have been chosen for the position, and I am happy to learn that he has carried out his duties to the satisfaction of everybody concerned.

I listened, Mr. Speaker, with great interest yesterday to the oration of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) and I was surprised to know that he was worried, evidently much worried, because our right hon. leader (Mr. Meighen) had not submitted a longer amendment. I should like to refer the minister to the speech made by the right hon. leader of the opposition on Monday, when he set forth his programme in great detail.

I am sure if the minister would go over that speech carefully and annex it to the amendment in question, we should find him voting for it when the House comes to divide on this issue. As a matter of fact, however, we all know that you cannot incorporate in an amendment everything that a person has been saying in the House and in the country. To my mind the amendment we are considering is perfectly in order. The right hon. leader of the opposition, spoke on Monday at his very best, and if he has not carried conviction to the mind of the Minister of Agriculture I am afraid the fault lies in that hon, gentleman himself.

The only thing I wish to refer to in the remarks of the Minister of Agriculture is his allusion to the Petersen contract-an unfortunate reference for him. The hon. gentleman spoke of what he called " the fangs of the combine "; but all of us on this side knew that the contract entered into with Sir William Petersen would not relieve the situation complained of, would not bring that relief which the gentlemen responsible for it were looking for. Fortunately the contract was held up in this House. It was referred by hon. gentlemen opposite to a committee of the House, who decided the proposal was not a wise one and thus saved the people of Canada a good bit of money. In this connection I would draw the attention of the House to a despatch in the Gazette of January 1, 1926, referring to a meeting of the London-Ameri-can Maritime Trading Company, from which I will read certain extracts. It says.

Some interesting disclosures of how far the Canadian government had gone with the Petersen ship subsidy proposal before "premature discussion" gave rise to the agitation which prevented its final consummation, was made by the Earl of Wemyss at to-day's annual meeting of the London-American Maritime Trading Company.

At the corresponding meeting a year ago Sir William Petersen suggested that the company would likely be in a much better position than others, and should be independent of the freight market.

Why would1 it be independent of the freight market? Because they thought this contract which Sir William Petersen was making with the government would be put through, and they knew it was going to be greatly to their advantage.

Further on in this despatch Lord Wemyss says-and I may say that I have the pleasure of knowing him ipersonally:

We had no direct interest in that agreement. It was a purely private undertaking of Sir William Petersen's, but in return for certain assistance-

Mark this.

-we were able to give him, he undertook to employ the Thompson Company steamers, giving them the benefit of the subsidy and ultimately to take over

The Address-Sir George Perley

these steamers on terms which would have made our shares considerably above par.

That, to my mind, is evidence no one can refute that the contract which this government attempted to ,put through last session, and which was fortunately blocked by the opiposition and the committee appointed by the House-I will give the committee credit for bringing in a report to the effect that it was not wise to go on with the proposed contract-would have meant a great deal of money for these people on the other side of the Atlantic.

I listened attentively to what the hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Howden) said, and I have no comment or criticism to make except that I want to take issue with him on the point he made with regard to the bringing into this country of early fruits from the United States. If I heard the hon. gentleman aright, he said that the early fruits which came in here from the United States were considerably better than those which we raised in Canada.

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LIB

John Power Howden

Liberal

Mr. HOWDEN:

I did not make that

remark. I said that they were considerably earlier than any we raise in Canada.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

We all agree with that. That is where the trouble lies. Strawberries, for instance, which are brought into this country in March or April are not nearly as good as our own which come later, but if we eat them freely at that time our appetite for strawberries is satiated, so that when our own come in there is not the demand for them that there would be if the United States fruit were not admitted. How the hon. gentleman, therefore, can make any objection to a stiff duty on all fruit and vegetables imported from the United States, I cannot understand.

In the Speech from the Throne the government announces its intention to have a tariff advisory board-something which has been talked of for a long time. Perhaps the government mean actually to do it, but it seems to me as if they are proposing this solution for the purpose of postponing a definite decision on matters regarding the tariff, about which there is evidently a wide difference of opinion between protectionists from the province of Quebec and supporters of the government, whether Liberals or Progressives, from the prairie provinces. Everyone knows where the Conservative party stands on this issue. Our right hon. leader has made that plain on many occasions, and no one in Canada can make a point plainer that he can when he rises to debate or to explain it. The

trouble is that we do not know where hon. gentlemen opposite stand. I heard the Minister of Justice state in this chamber that he was in favour of a low tariff policy and that the province of Quebec was not protectionist. I know a little, at all events, about the constituency of Argenteuil, and in my opinion it is protectionist, as I believe is the province of Quebec as a whole. As for the constituency of Argenteuil, I challenge the hon. gentleman to go down there and to preach low tariff. He will not get a very good reception there if he does or mueh sympathy, either.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Do not be too sure.

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

The Minister of the Interior (Mr. Stewart) had some experience with the province of Quebec, the constituency of Argenteuil, on the subject of protection. Reference has been made in this House over and over again to those words the "death knell of protection," which I am sure the minister wishes many a time he had never uttered. He referred in that way to the slight reduction which was made in the duty on agricultural implements. What was the result in that constituency which he then represented-because he was permitted to take a seat in Argenteuil, Quebec, although he came from Alberta, where he was unable to obtain one. After his comment about the "death knell of protection," a very largely signed petition was passed through the constituency of Argenteuil criticizing him for his remarks and asking him to resign. I certainly spoke about protection everywhere in my election campaign; I was in favour of protection, and I believe that fact had a great deal to do with my success in the election.

Leaving aside for a moment the question of a tariff on general manufactured goods, how is it possible for any hon. member to refuse to vote for an alteration of the tariff so as to protect our farmers? What harm is that going to do to anybody? The amendment calls for protection in respect of agricultural products, and it is, it seems to me, a most pertinent amendment. Curiously enough, the Minister of Justice, when replying to the leader of the opposition, made no reference to the amendment, and the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) hardly mentioned it yesterday. This did not surprise me very much because I did not see how either of them could say anything against it. We should have this protection for farm products. This question is of special interest to the people of the constituency that I represent and to other people in the neighbouring constituencies w'ho supply vegetables and fruits

The Address-Sir George Perley

for the city of Montreal. The same would also be the case with regard to the people living on the outskirts of any city or town of any size. As I say, I spoke on the tariff on every platform during my election campaign. Did my opponent take issue with me? Did he find fault with my argument? Not at all. He avoided the issue; he proceeded to speak about some other point of campaign interest, and then he forgot all about the question of a tariff on agricultural products. Whatever we grow in this favoured land is, I take it, the finest that can be grown anywhere, and as far as we can do so we should protect our growers of agricultural produce by using as much as possible of it in our own country, thus preserving our market for them and keeping our money at home. The only way in which this object can be accomplished is to raise the tariff on our agricultural products to the same level as it is in the United States. I do not propose to go over all the items, but I would ask how hon. gentlemen can justify the admission of butter into this country at a rate of four cents per pound when we have to pay eight cents to get our butter into the United States. In the House the other day a press report was read regarding butter coming from across the Pacific. That of course raises the question of the Australian tariff, which is even lower. I would refer hon. gentlemen, however, to the state of things in the United States, and I certainly think that our tariff on similar goods should be equal to theirs. In the matter of eggs it was shown conclusively yesterday or the day before how unfair and unworkable the present tariff is. Eggs are something in which the farmer's wife is particularly interested; she often gets her pin money from the sale of this article. But while Americans can send their eggs into this country over a tariff wall .of only three cents a dozen, the farmer's wife in Canada when she wants to return the compliment must pay eight cents a dozen on her eggs before they can enter the United States. What possible argument can there be to justify this? On Monday in reply to a question the Minister of Agriculture read a statement that had been prepared in his department on the subject of eggs, and he quite properly said that this year the crop was larger than it usually is in winter. That is interesting certainly, but it has nothing whatever to do with the question we are discussing. The minister concluded his statement as follows:

If the situation, however, develops more acutely in the next few days, as some anticipate, the officers of my department keeping in close touch with the situa-14011-19

tion, we will then be in a better position to discuss possible remedial measures if thought warranted.

Such a nice statement 1 But how ineffective; the thing cannot be done. The only means of rectifying this matter is to have the duty on eggs coming from the United States into Canada raised to the same level as the duty that is imposed against our eggs going into that country.

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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Would the hon. member favour increasing the tariff on wool to the United States level?

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Speaking offhand,

I can only say that as I have not studied that particular question I should not care to give my hon. friend an answer. Let me refer now to the canned fruit business. I say without any hesitation that there is no place in the world where any kind of fruit which we are able to grow in Canada is produced that is as good as our product. But what do we find? When at the Chateau Laurier I called for canned peaches yesterday I got an article described in these words:

Canned Peaches: Libby, McNeil & Libby, Chicago. Libby's California Fruit packed by Libby's California Fruit Cannery.

Could anything be more extraordinary than that, when we know that we raise in this country better peaches than they do in California? Here, in a hotel belonging to the people of Canada, we find guests provided with canned fruit that comes from the other side of the line. I object to this because in the first place the peaches are not half as good as those grown in Ontario, and also because money is being sent out of the country that should go to the farmers and the fruit growers of this country. Some people asked during my election campaign why this state of affairs was not rectified when the Conservatives were in power, and I explained to them, as I do not need to explain to the House, that the condition did not become acute until the Fordney tariff of 1921 went into effect, when every effort was made by the government of the United States to shut out our Canadian products.

The Minister of Justice the other day made the statement, with which I agree, that he believed in "sane Canadianism." Well we are all sane; gentlemen on the other side have not a monopoly of normality. As I say sometimes, we believe in Canada for the Canadians, which is about the same thing. And I would call the minister's attention to an important fact now that we are speaking of a sound Canadian citizenship. I have spoken of the products of Canada being the

The Address-Sir George Perley

at a lower rate every time. Not only that, but we have had the soldiers' civil re-establishment cost, which naturally gets smaller from year to year; so as a matter of fact, the ordinary expenditure for administration services has not altered very much. To make myself quite plain my position is this: we have in the Public Accounts the money which has been advanced directly to the railways as included in our debt, but on page 15 we have a schedule of guarantees by the government for the Canadian National Railways which are not included in our debt at all. Oh, no! Those guarantees are merely nominal, I suppose. But some day they will have to be paid. Nor have they included or said anything about the ordinary debenture debt of the Canadian National Railways which has practically been assumed by this country. That is as much a debt as any other part of the money we owe. I claim, Mr. Speaker, that the statement of the government ought to be made in such a way that an ordinary person looking over the Public Accounts will know exactly where we stand. If we increase the debt of the Canadian National Railways from year to year, in the same breath the government should not issue a statement that we have reduced our debt. Such statements give wrong impressions. I could use a stronger word, but they certainly do not tell the people the facts of the case.

If the Canadian National Railways want to borrow money they cannot do it themselves; no one would lend it to them. The Canadian government has to 'guarantee the loan and endorse the notes and we, the people of Canada, have to pay, the same as though we had given direct debentures. I would like to ask any hon. friend who is leading this House at the present time, and those sitting behind him, this question: Suppose

the members of the government were in a company by themselves, each member prosperous, and this company was borrowing a good deal of money, and they all had to endorse the notes-would they go back to their offices and say: "I am worth so much; I made something last year. This money the company has lost is nothing to me although I endorsed the notes." I tell you*, Mr. Speaker, they would find themselves in a very difficult position in a few years if they continued on that basis.

I notice in the Speech from the Throne we are going to have more simplified forms of account. I beg of the Finance Minister and government generally, when they are considering these simplified forms of account, to give us the real facts with regard to this

expenditure in a way that the people of this country can readily understand. In the Speech from the Throne the government has also promised that they will reduce expenditures, but will they do so? They have promised to do that many times. We certainly need in this country a Finance Minister with his back to the wall, one who will not allow any money to be spent except for absolute essentials. I do not think we ought to have any more votes for elevators in Prince Rupert, where there is no grain to be stored. Nor should we have votes for increased storage facilities in the city of Quebec when to date they have been unable to make full use of present facilities. If the city of Quebec can get enough grain to fill the elevators they now have, let us give them more, but not before they are needed. In other words, strict economy should be our watchword. It makes me think, Mr. Speaker, of the old days which lumbermen such as myself had to pass through, when we had lots of timber but very little money. Sometimes they would go home and talk about getting another suit of clothes, but in the end would make up their minds to keep the old suit six months longer. If I may be allowed to refer to it, there was a common story around the streets of this city in those days -it would ill become me to vouch for it- that when one of those lumbermen had to get more money from the bank and went to see the manager for that purpose, he used to sprinkle sawdust on his shoulders to Show that he was working.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Is that the case now?

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CON

George Halsey Perley

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

My hon. friend

has put an unfortunate question. Just at the present moment things are pretty bad in the lumber business. I am not in that business at the present moment, but I can tell my hon. friend that if his theory is that everything is going along very smoothly, his theory is not quite correct.

The right hon. gentleman who leads this government is going to Prince Albert to find a seat. I do not know whether he is going to have a hot time or not; I see it was thirty below zero there this morning. For my part, I do not understand why he did not go to Bagot. That would seem to be the natural place for him. It certainly would have been more dignified, and more in keeping with the position of Prime Minister and with what is due the House of Commons, if he had been in his seat when the House met I know that he criticised our leader for the steps he took in 1921 to find a seat, but I think our leader

The Address-Mr. Sanderson

was right. I think there should be some way in which a seat in this House can be vacated before the Speaker is elected; but leaving that aside, Providence had provided Mr. King with a vacancy. He did not have to seek a seat; there was one provided for him in the very province that had overwhelmingly voted in his favour, and it seems to me it would have been more in order for him to have gone there and found a seat in that province. I do not know why he did not, but it has been suggested to me that he was afraid. Surely that cannot be the case. I am happy to say, Mr. Speaker, that the relations between Mr. King and myself have always been most friendly. He has always been courteous to me, but all the same I am sorry to say that in his public capacity I have not much confidence in him, nor do I think the House has, notwithstanding the vote of last week. My main reason for saying this is that he has not kept his public promises. We all know how, four years ago, he talked about reducing the cost of living and reducing the public debt, and that he has done nothing of the sort. One hon. member of this House has criticized the right hon. gentleman for showing an utter lack of gratitude and graciousness, and said that she had absolutely no confidence in the King government nor faith in their promises of future action. It also seems to me that the case made out by the hon. member for Mackenzie (Mr. Campbell) in regard to the unfulfilled promises of the Prime Minister and his government to put through legislation providing for the alternative or transferable vote is altogether unanswerable, nor has anyone on the other side of the House even attempted to explain why Mr. King did not keep his promise in that respect. Under these circumstances, Mr. Speaker, how can this House have confidence in the right hon. gentleman's promises, or that he will implement the latest promises that are now made in the Speech from the Throne?

But there is more than that. The present Prime Minister last year hesitated a long time whether or not he should appeal to the country. Eventually he made up his mind, chose his own fighting ground, and at Richmond Hill, on the 6th of September, he delivered a carefully prepared appeal to his electors. In that speech, among other things, he said:

Is it sufficient that as a government we should continue in office, drawing our indemnities and salaries as members and ministers, and enjoying the other fruits of office, when great national questions press for solution, with which for want of an adequate majority in parliament we are unable satisfactorily to cope?

Mark those words, Mr. Speaker. To my mind that was a definite promise on the part of the Right Hon. Mr. Mackenzie King that he would resign unless he came back after the election with a larger following than he had before. I do not see how a public man could promise more definitely that unless he was supported with a larger number of followers he would not continue in the government of this country.

Some of the Prime Minister's followers this session have been fulsome in regard to the right hon. gentleman's qualities, and especially as to his refined and exalted sense of honour and propriety, to use the worus of the Minister of Customs (Mr. Boivin). May I say that the right hon. gentleman's followers do protest too much. It is never necessary for us to get up on this side of the House and say that our right hon. leader keeps his promises, because everybody knows he does, everybody in this House and outside. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether the Prime Minister lived up to this high standard that has been claimed for him and showed a refined and exalted sense of honour when he broke his promise to the Progressives regarding the alternative vote, or when he failed to implement the intent and meaning of his address at Richmond Hill, delivered on the 6th of September last. May I say also, in passing, that it seems to me the right hon. gentleman made a political blunder at that time which will be resented by the people of this country.

On this occasion, Mr. Speaker, when I speak here for the first time in many years, I have little more to say. I shall conclude by saying that we have in this House of Commons the spectacle of a government hanging on to office, and hoping that their leader may be returned and have a seat in this House. That may turn out to be the case, but at all events this government is in a position of unstable equilibrium, as we call it in mechanics, and cannot stay there very long.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have finished. For the reasons I have tried to explain, and for others as well, I support the amendment of our right hon. leader and trust that his arguments will appeal to hon. members of this House.

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January 20, 1926